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First to 70: Baylor vs West Virginia

10/17/2014

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Bryce Petty (14) leads the No. 4 Baylor Bears into what could be a high-scoring matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers

Flashback #1: Sept. 29, 2012: The West Virginia Mountaineers, powered by 656 passing yards and eight passing touchdowns, defeated the Baylor Bears 70-63. That game tied the FBS records for combined touchdowns (19) and touchdown passes (13) by two FBS opponents and came three points shy of tying the FBS record for combined points in a game, set by Navy and North Texas in 2007.

Flashback #2: Oct. 5, 2013: Baylor, fueled by 476 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns, defeated West Virginia 73-42. The Bears (872 yards) smashed the Big 12 record for yards in a game set by West Virginia in their previous matchup.

When the Bears and Mountaineers meet on Saturday – expect offense.

Baylor scores 70 in its sleep

Including its 73-42 win against West Virginia last season, Baylor has scored at least 70 points in five games since the start of last season. No other FBS team has reached that mark more than once during that time.

Baylor’s Quick-Strike Offense, 2014

This season, the Bears have continued their quick-strike offensive success of seasons past. They have scored an FBS-high 24 touchdowns on drives of 2 minutes or less, including six such touchdowns against a previously formidable TCU defense. Since the start of last season, the Bears have 16 more 2-minute touchdown drives and 17 more 1-minute touchdowns drives than any other FBS team.

The quick touchdown drives are often the result of Baylor’s big plays. The Bears have led the FBS in 30-yard touchdowns in each of the previous three seasons, and they again lead the nation with 15 in 2014. It is one of the reasons Baylor has 72 touchdown drives of three plays or fewer since the start of the 2011 season, 15 more than any other FBS team in the last four seasons.

Bryce Petty Throws of 20+ Yds, Career

Many of these touchdowns have come on deep passes from Bryce Petty, who leads the FBS with 11 touchdowns on passes thrown 20 yards or longer. Including six such touchdowns against TCU, Petty has 30 touchdowns and one interception on such throws in his career.

West Virginia’s offense has potential to explode

Like Baylor, West Virginia is one of the fastest teams in the country. The Mountaineers are averaging 20.5 seconds per play (7th in the FBS), and only Baylor is averaging more plays per game.

Most Plays Per Game, 2014

The Mountaineers rely on quick, short passes that allow their receivers to run after the catch. They lead the Big 12 and rank second among Power Five offenses in yards after the catch per game (212.5).

Clint Trickett, who has improved his Total QBR by 15.2 points this season, leads the West Virginia passing attack. Trickett has faced two ranked opponents this season – Alabama and Oklahoma - and exceeded 350 pass yards against both. No other quarterback has reached that threshold against either team.

Like with Baylor, big plays are a big part of West Virginia’s passing offense. Trickett leads the Big 12 and is tied for seventh in the FBS with 31 completions of 20 yards or more. His primary target, Kevin White, has 14 receptions of this distance, tied for second-most in the FBS.

White leads the FBS in receiving yards per game (148.0) and has the longest active streak of 100-yard receiving games in the nation (6).

Last week, Baylor allowed its most points (58) since allowing 70 points at West Virginia in 2012. Another poor defensive performance by the Bears could result in another high-scoring, exciting game in Morgantown.

First team to 70, wins!